Sunday, December 23, 2012

Tunnels & Trolls, House Rules IV

So, this will hopefully be my last House Rules post for a while, because my fingers are getting sore.  In this post, I intend to finally address Talents and Languages, which I've been avoiding.


Talents are a matter of philosophical importance for me, because I essentially dislike adding exclusionary abilities to Fantasy RPGs, but I also like to let characters be better or worse at different things depending on factors other than raw Attribute scores.  So, my preference is that a character can accomplish basic tasks in any field of endeavor with an SR of appropriate level, and to allow Talents to give additional bonuses and special options.  Under my own personal Talent rules, there are lists of defined Talents.  The use of a rating for the talent that gives bonuses to the attribute used in SRs, ala 7.5, is not used with the following rules.  I also intend to arrange Talents into something like Trees, which shouldn't be very deep because characters don't get a lot of them.  

Characters have one Talent per character level.  NPCs and Monsters may have more or less, of course, because their level isn't really tracked and they may well be concentrating on pursuits other than fighting and spellcasting.  On the other hand, NPCs often have lesser versions of these talents.  A village blacksmith might be able to perform all the functions of his profession, without having the breadth and depth of a PC with Metalcrafting.

I may refer to a Tool Bonus in these sections.  A Tool Bonus is given in a situation where a character has tools that are of a quality and appropriateness beyond what would typically be required for a given SR, and thus make the task easier.  The character may roll their Tool Bonus dice along with the 2d6 for their SR, and discard back down to two dice, thus increasing the likelihood of high rolls or a DARO.  If they do DARO, the tool bonus does not apply to subsequent rolls.  Tool Bonuses should be limited to one or two dice, as the character's competence should always be the major deciding factor in any endeavor.

Crafting Talents

The following are used to build things.  Any character may create simple tools and so forth with an appropriate SR, a character with a Talent is able to do more things, and do them more quickly and efficiently.

Woodcrafting: The character may go beyond the simple and create functioning wooden weapons such as truly sturdy staves, quality bows, or similar.  They may create finely wrought things of wood, such as puzzle boxes or intricate carving, and are able to find, make, and apply good lacquer and paints.

Metalcrafting:  This is the hardest to do without the talent.  The character can tool up to and operate forges and anvils, and make metal goods, weapons, and armor. 

Jewelcrafting:  This includes gemcutting and the crafting of small and intricate bits of precious metals, and similar.

Textiles: Cloth and leather goods, armor and fine clothing.  Includes elements of fashion design.  A high SR would probably allow the creation of clothing that is both ballroom-appropriate and gives an armor rating equivalent to Leather.

Technology: This allows the creation of various items of science-fantasy technology.  It will almost always require the acquisition of rare and expensive components and tools, and probably requires the use of other crafting techniques in order to alter them or build from scratch.  The GM should require Science talents for its use, depending on what is to be built.

Alchemy: This allows the identification and creation of various potions and other substances.  Some NPCs with this Art are not actual spellcasters, although the creation of some potions does require the Wizardry attribute.

Advanced Materials: The character can perform any other Crafting ability he has using advanced and unusual materials such as dragonhide or mithril or whatever.

Enchantment Preparation: The character can make items suitable for receiving Enchantment.  The character requires the Wizardry attribute.  

Engineering: The character can design, direct the construction of, or analyze fortifications, buildings, aqueducts, siege weaponry, and similar large-scale projects.  

Wizardry Talents

These Talents can only be used by those possessing a Wizardry score.

Detect Magic: This allows the character to sense the presence of strong magic within a number of feet equal to his Intelligence.  He can also identify whether an object is magical and otherwise "see" the presence of magic if it is within range and in his line of vision.  He can also sense whether a character within range and sight has a Wizardry score.

Analyze Magic: With the prerequisite of Detect Magic, the character can (with appropriate amounts of time and an SR) determine the function of magical items or enchantments, and so on and so forth.  She can also recognize a particular wizard's style of magic if she has an opportunity to study his spells.

Arcane Theory: This is an exception in that Wizardry is not required.  It is an understanding of the theory and practice of magic, and is generally useful in analyzing unknown magics or applying the principles of magic.  A character versed in Arcane Theory knows of the existence and function of many spells they may not personally know or be able to cast, and will typically know the appropriate counter to any spell they can examine.  This Talent is a prerequisite to researching or creating new spells.

Darksight: The character can see better than others in conditions of dim lighting, and can see in the dark to a range equal to his Wizardry in feet.

Adaptability: The character is highly resistant to mundane heat and cold, and does not need to make Constitution SRs in cases of freezing or very hot temperatures.  This provides no protection against Magical effects.

Dreamweaver: The character can visit others in their dreams.  The attempt requires the user to be asleep, expend ten spirit, and attempt a Wizardry SR1.  The character will be allowed to make a five minute visitation to the target, where they can converse and interact, although not cast spells on each other.  The target will realize it is a real visitation and not a normal dream, and will remember it as clearly as any waking event when they wake up.  The user can double the range or duration by increasing the level of the SR by 1. The ability will fail if the target is out of range or not asleep, but the user will under no circumstances gain any information about why the ability failed or where the target is, unless she tells him.  The target can attempt a contested IQ roll to keep the user out of her dreams.  Like any contested roll, she selects a level of the SR and resists if she makes it, the Dreamweaver can attempt to overcome the resistance with an Intelligence SR of the same level.  If the Dreamweaver becomes hostile, the dreamer may attempt to wake up with a Charisma SR3, which the Dreamweaver may not resist.

Combat Talents

Kung Fu: The possessor of this Talent has 2d and their full adds in unarmed combat, even against armored or supernatural monsters or beasts.  They should get a 1d tool bonus in attempts to break objects with their bare hands at the GM's discretion.

Hairy Eyeball: The character may gain information about the combat ability and experience of another character with an L2SR against INT.  This will also allow the character to infer the presence of typically concealed weapons and similar assets or weaknesses of the target.  Adventurers and those accustomed to rough crowds will certainly notice if someone is giving them the Hairy Eyeball.

Assassin Training: The character can competently conceal small weapons, vials of poison, etc. about their person, and is used to doing so such that their posture will not give away tells that are visible to someone giving them the Hairy Eyeball.  Finding these things about the target's person requires at least a strip search, and may not work even then.  A garrote sewn into the hem of a cloak, for example, might not be found by any typical examination.

Backstab: The character can, if they possess total surprise and enough opportunity to plan the attack, make a melee attack against a character that allows no use of the target's normal combat adds to defend.  The target may subtract his Luck from the damage dealt, rather than his armor, if his Luck is higher.

Danger Sense: The character cannot be surprised under normal circumstances (and in a fantasy world, "normal" can include invisible monsters and superhuman ninjas), and will awaken in the presence of danger.  Effectively, the character should not ever be denied his combat dice and adds merely because he could not reasonably have predicted or sensed the oncoming attack.  If he is unable to see or detect an opponent, his full HPT will still count for defense if not offense.

Adventuring Talents

Efficient Packing: The character halves the weight units of gear other than weapons or armor (So, tools, treasure, etc.) for purposes of determining how much he can carry.  This does require the character to have a backpack, pouches, etc.

Wilderness Survival: The character can forage for food successfully in any reasonable environment, and does not slow the party down while doing so.  An SR1 allows her to feed one person, and each additional level of the SR doubles the number of persons fed.  As always, the level must be selected before the dice are rolled.  She can automatically find and identify potable water in natural environs if there is any to be found.  

Tracking: Any character can attempt basic tracking with an IQ SR of appropriate level. The character with this talent can determine more information about the targets tracked, such as their numbers, composition, encumbrance, what they are up to, approximately how long ago they passed, etc.

Sailing: The character can captain and maintain a ship, teach the willing the basics of how to sail during a voyage, navigate by the stars and maps, and otherwise handle seafaring tasks.  The character also probably knows a fair amount about the business of sailing, such as the names and reputations of pirate captains, the flags of seafaring nations, and so forth.

Navigation: This character will not become lost on land or sea under normal circumstances, and can engage in professional-quality cartography and exploration.  They know the best ways to traverse any terrain.

Logistics: The character can plan and execute the necessary provisioning, equipment, and composition of merchant caravans, military companies, etc.  They can determine how long a journey will take and what risks are likely, make camping and decamping more efficient, manage supplies, and generally be of immense use to any group of persons larger than just the PCs themselves.  Because this kind of beancounting is boring as shit to play out, it is best resolved as an Intelligence SR.  A group of persons assisted by a character with logistics will always be able to overtake or outmaneuver another group of similar speed, over a long enough period of time and distance.

Science Skills

The character can take skills in any field of science they choose, which gives a science-fantasy level of understanding appropriate to the character's IQ.  This will let them use technological equipment of the appropriate types, and build it if they have the appropriate Crafting skills.  Appropriate Science skills include Physics, Chemistry, Bio-Engineering, Dimensional Dynamics, Electronic Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Materials Science, Astrophysics (this includes such outrageous topics as Dark Energy Manipulation and other practical uses), Inertia/Mass/Gravity Manipulation (this is all one field), Zero Point Energy Collectors, etc.

Other Talents

Many, many other talents are possible, even likely and suggested.  This is just how many I felt like writing up today, in order to give a good sampling of what kinds of abilities are available.  

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